Thursday, February 25, 2010

Ginger Cake


I thought forgetting to add the sugar would make this ginger cake fairly bland but I was pleasantly surprised that the omission almost went unnoticed. When I remembered that the demerara sugar was still unweighed in the bag, I heated a heaped tablespoon of it with the left over stem ginger syrup and doused it over the just baked cake - I guess that's the reason that it tasted just sweet enough.

This photo was taken the day after it was baked but give it five days wrapped in foil and it will darken in colour and deepen in flavour. A good cake to prepare before a trip.

Preheat oven to 180ºC. Line a 1kg loaf tin with baking paper.

  • 225g plain flour, I used wholemeal Spelt

  • 1/2 tsp mixed spice

  • 3 heaped tsp ground ginger

  • 1 1/2tsp bicarb

  • 140g Chinese stem ginger - rinsed, dried and roughly chopped

  • 1 egg

  • 285ml milk

  • 85g butter

  • 85g black treacle

  • 85g golden syrup

  • 115g demerara sugar

Preheat Oven 180ºC. Line a 1kg loaf tin.

  1. Either sieve or whisk the flour, bicarb and spices together. I whisk dry ingredients  - less messy and it's quick. Add half of the ginger.

  2. Beat the egg and milk in one bowl.

  3. Melt the butter, treacle, syrup and sugar until melted.

  4. Add the warm syrups to the four then add the milk mix and beat until combined.

  5. Pour batter into lined tin and sprinkle over remaining ginger.

  6. Bake for 1 hour.
    Check the cake after 30  mins and cover with foil if it's browning too much.

Wednesday, February 24, 2010

Evie's school days

Eviesgarden.jpg @ 100% (RGB_8)

Evie thrust this picture along with three other family hand drawn portraits into my hand after school on Monday. It's a picture of me, Matilda and Evie in our garden by the bird table which Stu strapped to the pear tree with red rope when it was first snowing back in December.

Evie's not really 'getting' school. She loved half term being at home; drawing lots, sucking her thumb, day dreaming. At school she's not finding things so easy. Her creativity isn't recognised like it was in reception, her sentences don't make sense and she just wants be at home - hence the stream of daily drawings centred around her being at here. I feel for her and understand how she feels. She's already under pressure, she's given spellings to learn for homework and she's only 5. Instead of feeling free and happy she's feeling like she's underachieving at school and is copying her friends work so she doesn't fail tasks. I feel concerned for her, she's very creative with a desire to learn non school curriculum things. Perhaps this is quite normal.

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Love Me Buns

Fresh from our sunny Sunday family bike ride along Marriotts Way, Evie was straight in with the question "Can we make cakes? You did promise...." The multitude of "can we's" seems quite feasible first thing in the morning but as the day progresses... all I want to do is read just a tiny bit of the paper.

Keeping my word (for once) we made chocolate cupcakes which we scoffed after large portions of roast beef. The buns weren't bad considering they contained liberal smattering's of both egg shell and spittle.  


Matilda arranging 'Love Me Buns' on our Valentine mini-bird-table, left on our door step by a secret admirer....

Wednesday, February 10, 2010

Chewy Choc Chip Cookies


I've just switched on Nigel 'unctuous' Slater and typically it's the one episode I've already seen. I made his burgers with Parmesan (I use minced beef not chicken) numerous times last year and can vouch for them being superb. I would never have thought of putting cheese in a burger, but what a revelation, I became a burger loather to a burger love overnight. And another reason to love burgers it's one of the few things Stu cooks - outside on the decking using the camping stove in almost all weather conditions. (I should add that the burgers get cooked outside as we have no extractor fan not because I don't let him in the kitchen).

Today has been my first marmalade day of 2010. I bought 7 kilos of Seville's for some reason, so that's two more batches to make this week. As always I use Sybil Kapoor's recipe, one batch made with the addition of blackstrap molasses and one with out.

I've also been making cookies; big fat, chewy supermarket bakery cookies. You know the ones stuffed with huge chunks of chocolate and ladened with sugar and butter? After a bit of googling, I found a recipe on Yahoo Answers which seemed to hit the right marks. Here it is:

Chewy Full Fat Cookies
250g all-purpose flour
2g baking soda
3g salt
170g unsalted butter, melted
220g packed dark or light brown sugar
100g granulated sugar
15ml vanilla extract
1 egg
1 egg yolk
335g  chocolate chips; white, dark and milk

Preheat the oven to 165 degrees C. Grease cookie sheets or line with parchment paper.
Sift together the flour, baking soda and salt; set aside.
In a medium bowl, cream together the melted butter, brown sugar and
white sugar until well blended. Beat in the vanilla, egg, and egg yolk
until light and creamy. Mix in the sifted ingredients until just
blended. Stir in the chocolate chips by hand using a wooden spoon. Drop
cookie dough 1/4 cup at a time onto the prepared cookie sheets. Cookies
should be about 3 inches apart.
Bake for 13 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the edges are
lightly toasted. Cool on baking sheets for a 5 minutes before
transferring to wire racks to cool completely.

Typepad or Tumblr?

Carrot _ Apple _ Pecan Muffins with a crunchy... - Life + Fork

I can't decide whether to ditch Typepad - I find it intensely frustrating, sometimes it loads, often it doesn't.
I've been erratically using the ever so simple Tumblr platform and I really like it's simplicity plus it's free.

Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Crochet Cushion No. 1

Cushion project No. 1
My first attempt at making up patterns with stitches as I go along. It was going well until I stitched it to the back cloth in a oval shape rather than a round. I'm sticking to squares from now on.